Agriculture

Wed
10
Feb

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 12: CRP Signup
February 26: CFAP 1 & 2 Updates
March 5: WHIP Quality Loss Adjustment
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Forty Chances to Improve Your Soil Health

by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist

There is a book written by Howard G. Buffet called Forty Chances. It is based on the notion that the average farmer gets forty crops, or forty chances to make changes. This book is a dire warning about what happens when the farmers, and the food they produce, goes away.

Wed
10
Feb

Equine Lunch & Learn Webinar Series set to begin February 11

Horse owners and enthusiasts will have an opportunity to learn more about management of equine during a monthly webinar on equine management decisions.

Beginning February 11, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide a monthly series of short virtual meetings over four months. The webinar topics include nutrition, the importance of soil for pasture and hay, weed control and environmental management. Opportunities for interaction with the presenters will be available. “The program is designed to provide attendees with an interactive and informative opportunity to further develop their knowledge of equine related topics, including management and care,” said Peggy Auwerda, associate professor in animal science and extension equine specialist at Iowa State University.

Wed
03
Feb

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 12: CRP Signup
February 26: CFAP 1 & 2 Updates
March 5: WHIP Quality Loss Adjustment
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Enrollment Begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs for 2021
Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened Tuesday, Oct. 13.  These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year. Enrollment for the 2021 crop year closes March 15, 2021.

Wed
03
Feb

Practical Farmers of Iowa begin 2021 farminar season

Topics include interseeding 60-inch corn, high tunnel storm protection, and pasture-finishing pigs

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2021 winter webinar series, referred to as “farminars,”  began Tuesday, Jan. 26, with a presentation on interseeding 60-inch corn for improved return on investment. This event is one of seven farminars offered through March 16 on issues relevant to beginning and experienced row crop, livestock and horticulture farmers, as well as landowners.

All farminars run weekly on Tuesdays from 7-8:30 p.m. CST and are free for anyone with an internet connection to participate. Each presentation focuses on a unique production or business management topic, and is led by a farmer or subject-matter expert. Attendees are able to ask questions in real-time using a chat box while they listen and watch a slideshow. Each farminar is recorded and archived at practicalfarmers.org for later viewing.

Wed
03
Feb

Poll shows farmers’ beliefs on climate change are shifting

Climate change is impacting Iowa agriculture and negative impacts are expected to increasingly threaten agricultural productivity in the state. There are many ways, however, that farmers and landowners can increase the resiliency of production systems, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and even capture carbon.

The 2020 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll survey explored farmers’ perspectives on climate change and ways that farmers can address its impacts on agriculture. The project is supported by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station.

“We’ve asked questions about climate change three times over the last decade, so we can now look at changes in perspectives over time,” said project director J. Arbuckle, professor and extension sociologist at Iowa State University.

Wed
27
Jan

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 12: CRP Signup
March 5: Quality Loss Adjustment
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

They’re Not All Bad!
by Alisha Sedlmayr
You can’t see them with the naked eye, but there are hundreds of them in a healthy handful of soil and the majority of them are actually beneficial to plants. We’re going to be talking about nematodes! You may think of root-feeding nematodes, which can kill plants or harm them, but they are not all deadly to your crops. In fact, the other types of nematodes (beneficial ones) actually cycle nutrients for plants, control plant pests, and help improve soil health.

Wed
27
Jan

Suicide Prevention Program still available virtually to producers and agribusiness

Iowa’s rural communities and families are still coping with the uncertainty and stress produced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial worries continue to contribute to farmers’ anxiety.

In response to this continuing impact, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach is offering weekly, online “Question. Persuade. Refer.” programs now through February, said Demi Johnson, behavioral health program specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

“Question. Persuade. Refer.” (QPR) is a suicide prevention program that teaches participants three steps to help save a life from suicide.

“Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help,” Johnson explained.

Wed
27
Jan

Karst Topography of Upper Iowa Watershed is focus of Water Quality Field Day held virtually

Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting a free virtual field day on the challenges of improving water quality and quantity management in the karst topography of the Upper Iowa Watershed Thursday, February 4 at 1 p.m. CST.

Presenters include Matt Frana, Upper Iowa Watershed project coordinator, and Winneshiek County landowners Tom and Maren Beard.

“The karst topography in northeast Iowa creates some unique challenges when planning for water detention project sites,” said Frana. “Shallow depth to bedrock, easily dissolvable bedrock, highly fractured bedrock and sinkholes can become problematic if water is pooled above or near them.”

Karst terrain is characterized by the presence of easily dissolved bedrock (limestone and dolomite) near the ground surface, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Wed
20
Jan

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 12: CRP Signup
March 5: Quality Loss Adjustment
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

USDA to Open General Signup for the Conservation Reserve Program in January 2021
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the signup periods for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in 2021. Signup for general CRP will be open from Jan. 4, 2021, to Feb. 12, 2021. This program is competitive and provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.

Wed
20
Jan

Virtual Farm Bill Meeting Series planned for 2021

Iowa producers have until March 15, 2021 to make their annual election for Price Loss Coverage or Agriculture Risk Coverage (at the individual and county levels) under the 2018 Farm Bill.

This annual decision is unlike the previous farm bill, when producers made a one-time decision for their operation that was in place for the life of the bill.

Webinars planned. In order to help Iowans understand their options for 2021, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a series of webinars. The lead webinar was held January 19 at 1 p.m., and featured staff from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency addressing program logistics, changes for 2021, and how producers can best work with their county FSA staff and offices that may remain closed to the public through the sign-up date.

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